There are many dance festivals happening in and around Amsterdam during the summer months. From major commercial productions to underground raves with secret locations – if you like to dance, you will find a party to go to.
Weather is an important factor for any outdoor festival, and in Amsterdam you have to prepare for a great day of partying in the sun, or a great day of partying in a poncho. Either way, most festivals sell out months in advance, so be prepared to take a chance and party rain or shine.
A Day At The Park and Dance Valley are two of Amsterdam’s most famous dance festivals, with many more smaller commercial and underground ventures popping up on a weekly basis.
Dance Valley is the larger of the two festivals and happens on Saturday August 7th in the Velsen Valley Spaarnwoude. Dance Valley was the first open-air daytime dance festival of its kind, with its first edition happening in 1995. It continues its tradition of celebrating electronic dance music, and presents multiple stages with various styles of the genre. You can also expect many non-dance related activities, including bouncy castles, giant mushrooms, bars, and chill out areas scattered through out the festival.
Getting to Spaarnwoude is easy; it’s just a short train ride from Amsterdam’s Centraal Station, followed by a shuttle bus which operates from the station to the festival grounds.
A Day At The Park is another major Amsterdam dance festival, happening earlier in the year than Dance Valley; this year it was held last Saturday, July 24th. It’s the smaller of the two festivals, but also slightly less commercial – so you can expect more random fun festival stuff (think mini buses, mini bars, kangaroos, and balloon dragons).
The festival is conveniently located in the Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest), and is a half hour bike ride from the city center. Since the festival runs from 11am to 11pm, public transit is still operating during those hours but beware: with the heavy concentration of party goers, arriving and departing may take some time.
You can expect food and drink vendors, interesting eye catching structures, and various dance stages at both these events. Electronic dance music is often accompanied by smoke, lasers and wicked light shows, so expect a cool presentation as well. These one day dance festivals are also a great way to experience an European festival without the hassle of overnight camping or excessive traveling. Considering festival tickets for a single day event go for about 50-60euros, its also much cheaper than a longer festival.
If you plan to go to a festival, make sure to bring enough cash for lockers, souvenirs, food and drinks ( 20euros/person is a minimum for food and drink if you don’t plan on drinking heavily). Sunscreen and a hat for hot days is recommended, while a small poncho in the face of rain clouds is a great idea. Outside food and drinks are not permitted at festivals, along with a variety of substances like aerosol deodorant, bubbles, and any random item security may deem as unacceptable. And even though soft drugs are tolerated in Amsterdam, these dance festivals have a zero-tolerance drug policy in effect, so make sure you are discreet.
For more information on A Day At The Park or Dane Valley check out their official websites.
If electronic music isn’t your thing, there are also weekend long music festivals in the Netherlands.